A Navajo prayer introduces the concept of walking in beauty.
With beauty before me, I walk
With beauty behind me, I walk
With beauty above me, I walk
With beauty below me, I walk
From the east beauty has been restored
From the south beauty has been restored
From the west beauty has been restored
From the north beauty has been restored
From the zenith of the sky beauty has been restored
From the nadir of the earth beauty has been restored
From all around me beauty has been restored.
I have a Shawnee friend, Thomas Norton-Smith, and I once asked him about the concept of walking in beauty. He replied, “You will understand it by living it.”
Occasionally I have tastes of living it. I see the concept of walking in beauty as embracing two great phases in this philosophy of living: living amid the beauties of nature and artistic living. The first phase is more receptive, the second more active. Walking in beauty involves being receptive to actual beauty and being creative in actualizing potentials for beauty– doing things to make life more beautiful.
Beauty is actual in the cosmos (above me) and the earth (below me, and in the east, south, west, and north). Finding beauty surrounding us, helps us find beauty within us. Then we arrive at that place of power where we can feel it wherever we turn. Those who walk in beauty refresh others and contribute to the restoration of the environment.
I invite you to share what walking in beauty means to you. Could you describe an experience of that?
Could you describe one of your favorite places in nature, and say why you are attracted to that place? It is very interesting to compare notes.
Let’s begin a month together of being more attuned to beauty in nature.
 Calvin Luther Martin, The Way of the Human Being (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 24-25. Thomas Norton-Smith has written The Dance of Person and Place: One Interpretation of American Indian Philosophy (Albany: SUNY Press, 2010). The photo credit shows a natural scene on the Navaho reservation: http://nap.entclub.org/NewFiles/Habitats/Mexican-Cry_3137.jpg